by Abigail Stovall (in N. Ireland at St. Mary’s University College)
I was a bit nervous to travel abroad. I had been out of the country before, but never for an extended period of time — and especially not by myself. I chose Ireland because my favorite literature teacher in high school, Susan Berry, introduced me to the world of Celtic mythology, James Joyce, Seamus Heaney, W. B. Yeats, and many others. The opportunity to be able to see ancient Irish archeological sites like Newgrange and Tara, while having access to the Queens University library and online archives, was not one I could pass up. Additionally, I was excited for the opportunity to take international business courses in Ireland, to learn how European economies emerged out of post-soviet Europe.
My favorite thing thus far has been the Literary and Scientific Society (also called Literific), which is the Queen’s University debating society. I was able to ask the students in Literific questions about Northern Ireland’s politics and listen as they spoke wisdom. The last Literific debate was actually held at Stormont, where Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from Northern Ireland’s biggest political parties participated in the evening’s debate. After this, there was a cocktail hour with the MLAs.
This experience was invaluable to me as an aspiring law student, interested in international law and politics. When I think about it, I cannot even believe I have shared in this experience. It is truly an honor to stand with these Queen’s students and converse and debate. I have tremendous respect for the Literific. I look forward to bringing back some of what I have learned and implementing it into CBU’s own fabulous Debate and Law Society.
To any incoming student, I would say to make you sure you read about Northern Ireland’s culture before you come here. To fully engage with these people, you must understand their past. Additionally, put yourself out there. People are extremely friendly; you can’t take yourself too seriously. My experience has been incredible so far. It is such a blessing and amazing learning opportunity.
— Abigail Stovall (English for Corporate Communication ’16)